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HindustanTimes Sat,12 Jul 2014

No funds for mid-day meal in Faridkot

Raghbir Singh Brar, Hindustan Times  Faridkot, August 29, 2013
First Published: 18:10 IST(29/8/2013) | Last Updated: 18:12 IST(29/8/2013)

More than 55,000 students in 426 schools of the district might not be served mid-day meal from September, due to lack of funds.

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The government has failed to release the grants for the scheme for over two months. Since July, teachers have been running the scheme by pooling expenses on cooking material.

"Previously, the funds were delayed every month. However, for July and August, we have received no money to run the scheme. We pooled in amongst ourselves to keep the scheme running. However, we cannot do this indefinitely. We will stop cooking the meal at our own expenses from September 1," said Preetbhagwan Singh, a government school teacher and the district ETT president.

"We have bought wood-fuel supply for the next month. However, the borrowing is getting bigger and we will have to stop," said the headmaster of a government school.

However, he claimed that he would wait till the end first week of September before taking this decision.

The government provides wheat and rice, but teachers have to buy many other items like vegetables, masalas to cook food, fuel wood, curd, milk to make kheer and other items.

"No one is ready to spend from their own pocket. We have been doing this for two months. Most teachers have made up their minds to discontinue serving the meal, if funds are not released," another teacher added.

"We have nearly spent about Rs. 40,000 to run the mid-day meal in Government Primary School Prem Nagar, Kotkapura, to feed over 350 students for two months. We are required to buy many items daily," said Dharminder Singh, the cashier of Kotkapura block for ETT Faridkot.

Harcharan Singh, manager mid-day meal, Faridkot, admitted that the funds for July and August had not released due to some technical problem.

"We expect to get the money very shortly. All teachers will be reimbursed." "The government has taken up the matter with the relevant authorities and the money will be released soon," said Faridkot deputy commissioner Ravi Bhagat.

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